Learning how to battle personal stressors

5 Aug 2010 | Lance Cpl. Victor A. Barrera

Stress can at times play a big role in people’s lives. It can make or break someone’s day, bring a family closer or tear them apart.

Marine Corps Community Services aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, is offering a stress management class to help ensure that anyone who faces stress in their life can find a way to deal with their problems.

The course is offered every other week for a full day and is available to service members, their family members and any employee aboard Camp Lejeune. Instructors can also present their course to units.

“The class is set up so service members and their families can examine, identify and understand what is stressing them,” said Tara Derby-Machin, the public health educator for the Health Promotion Division with MCCS. “We then give them coping mechanisms like breathing, mind relaxation and yoga techniques.”

Derby-Machin said the course is interactive and attempts to reach out to service members in a way that is best for them. Whether someone is a hands-on, visual or auditory learner, the instructors will work with them.

“We see a lot of service members here,” said Derby-Machin. “As they explore stress, they learn that it can be manifested as depression, anxiety, fear and even anger.”

One Marine that was present at the class spoke about the stressors in his life.

“I heard about this class from one of my buddies who had attended it,” he said. “After our deployment, I noticed a dramatic change, I’m just here to find out what my problem is and hopefully find a way to deal with it.”

Derby-Machin said yoga is not only an effective stress reliever, but a popular choice among the Department of Defense personnel. While doing yoga, people are encouraged to only focus on the present rather than think about the past or future.

“People walk away feeling focused and centered,” said Derby-Machin. “And while it can be used to manage stress, it can also be a life-management tool. Even 15 minutes a day can be helpful in managing daily pressures and correcting one’s stress.”

The instructors give practical information. They say that if someone can relax by driving, listening to music or fishing, it is encouraged they use those activities to their advantage.

Another Marine who was present at the class said that he will continue to come, and once he gets back to his unit, he will encourage his fellow Mariness to attend.

Whether it is family or job related stressors, the personnel at the stress management class are willing to help.

“Every day we face things that can cause stress and anger,” said Derby-Machin. “If it takes over our lives, it will affect us. Sometimes people just need to be shown options and hopefully it will lead them to a better state of being.”